New York Court Dismisses 1,200 Breast Implant Lawsuits Against Dow
May. 30, 1996
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ A state court has dismissed more than 1,200 lawsuits filed in New York against The Dow Chemical Co. over breast implants made by Dow Corning Corp.
The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court ruling upheld a lower court's decision that dismissed the Michigan-based company from all silicone breast implant claims against it in the state.
The decision was made Tuesday and announced by Dow Chemical in a release on Wednesday.
``This is a very reassuring judgment, given that other courts around the country will be evaluating the same facts and the same laws considered in New York, and we believe they will reach the same conclusion,'' said Dow Chemical general counsel John Scriven.
In lawsuits throughout the nation, women claim their breast implants are the source of often severe illnesses, including lupus and multiple sclerosis. The Food and Drug Administration has imposed a moratorium on their use, except for women who need breast reconstruction.
Dow Corning, once the largest breast-implant manufacturer, no longer makes them. The company is jointly owned by Dow Chemical Co. and Corning Inc. of Corning, N.Y.
In Tuesday's decision, the Appellate Division court said that last September Justice Joan Lobis of the New York State Supreme Court properly declined to follow a federal judge's ruling that Dow Chemical could be held directly liable for ailments attributed to breast implants.
``A party who gives advice to a manufacturer of consumer goods does not owe a duty to then-unknown individual purchasers of the manufacturer's goods,'' the Appellate Division said in its ruling.
In addition to the more than 1,200 breast-implant lawsuits filed against Dow Chemical in New York state courts, there are about 700 cases pending in federal courts in the state. It was not immediately known what affect Tuesday's ruling would have on the federal lawsuits.
Dow Corning sought protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court last May in response to thousands of lawsuits alleging its silicone breast implants were faulty and caused health problems.
The Midland, Mich.-based company maintains they are safe and that scientific studies have failed to prove a link between the devices and the alleged ailments.